by Brian Clarey

Randall Gregg, newspaperman: 1970-2014


1. He was a newspaperman

Randall Gregg was a North Carolina newspaperman. He was a lot of other things, but I knew him because of newspapers. Before he passed on April 25, he started eight different newspapers in this state, including the Raleigh Telegram, the Sun of Guilford County, the Raleigh Downtowner and his last project, the Stokesdale Star.

2. He was my friend

Randyhas been popping into my office for years to talk about stories, elections, newspapering and such. When we started this newspaper, he sold me a few old boxes from the Daily Tarheel he had acquired over the years. They have new significance to me now. Randy was also one of the first to call me with a job offer when I became temporarily unemployed.

3. He went to law school

He graduated, too. But he never got around to taking the bar exam. One afternoon he told me he was thinking about finally taking the test that would enable him to practice law in the state of North Carolina, but that he was also considering ferrying a friend’s sailboat across the Atlantic instead. I advised him to take the bar exam. He took the boat ride.

4. He did some amazing things

He met four presidents and published four books — that I found out from his obit. But I was there in 2010 when he dropped everything and went down to Haiti to cover the earthquake. He embedded with US Air Force troops and engaged in acts of journalism and humanitarianism, both of which I deeply admired.

5. He liked motorcycles

That’s how it happened: a motorcycle crash. I don’t really have any details. They don’t matter to me.

6. He lived a good life

Randy was alive, man. He took risks, spoke truth to power, rarely compromised and always delivered.

7. He went too soon

He was 44, with a lot of work yet to do. I hope he knows the rest of us are still here, on the grind, carrying out the good work of newspapering.


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